Design Thinking for Innovative Problem Solving: A Step-by-Step Project Course (ONLINE COURSE)

  • One of the hottest topics in the business world, design thinking helps you break through your messiest business problems with a systematic approach to uncovering creative insights and new solutions.

  • At a Glance

    In this new online program, you'll apply the design-thinking process to one of your real-life challenges. Using a clear, guided process that combines creative right-brained thinking-such as brainstorming and visualization-with traditional left-brained analysis, you will reach an innovative solution.

    This is a well-planned and produced online learning program, giving managers effective tools and mindset to identify problems and develop the right solutions!

    Calvin Lai, Manager, Application Development, Sprint Corp.

    The course was a big help in breaking down some long-held beliefs in the way we do our business. Thanks a lot for a new way of thinking.

    Abhilash Mehrotra, KVH Media Group

    The course has been very insightful! I find the design thinking approach very promising in today's fast changing world, where challenges are more complex and involved.

    Prashant Godbole, Director, Godbole Gates Pvt Ltd.

    Program Overview

    The Program

    In Design Thinking Online, you'll work through a 15-step problem-solving process using design methodologies and innovation tools. Using recorded video instruction and peer review, you'll apply each of these steps to solve your challenge. You'll study real-life case studies that show design thinking in action for organizations both large and small and in corporate and nonprofit settings. Community forums and peer feedback will help you develop a range of innovative solutions to your challenge.

    This course uses a project field book that we will put to use immediately in week one. The book is called  The Designing for Growth Field Book: A Step-by-Step Project Guide and is available on Amazon.

    Upon successful completion of the course, participants are eligible to receive a Statement of Accomplishment from the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation.

    Some of the topics this course will cover include:

    • Preparing your mind for innovation
    • Selecting your project
    • What is? Assessing today's customer/stakeholder experience
    • What if? Envisioning new possibilities
    • What wows? Finding the "wow" zone where user needs and organizational capabilities meet
    • What works? Learning in action

    Where You'll Excel

    Here are just a handful of examples of how organizations use design thinking to solve their biggest challenges.

    • Redesign internal processes- developing a new employee evaluation system, streamlining a customer call center system, and enlivening strategic planning processes
    • Deepen customer/stakeholder engagement- creating powerful co-creation conversations with customers and improving the sales tool kit
    • Address pressing social sector issues- improving meal delivery to the elderly and revitalizing urban spaces
    • Improve education and leadership development- embedding new capabilities for creative thinking in organizations and creating new social networking models

    Would you like more information about our Specialization in Design Thinking and Innovation? Please enter your email address to be added to our growing list of interested participants.


    With Design Thinking Online, you will be able to:

    • Learn the design thinking problem-solving process that is organized through 15 steps and four questions: What is? What if? What wows? What works?
    • Identify the right problems for design thinking to solve
    • Push beyond conventional ideas to exciting concepts for new possibilities
    • Rigorously evaluate possible solutions
    • Identify key assumptions that must be true for success
    • Create a prototype of the innovative change you're seeking
    • Determine whether your solution can be implemented and create value


    This program is open to professionals from any industry who want to solve problems more creatively using new methods and tools. No prior experience with design thinking is necessary.

    Please note: participants will need to devote approximately 32 hours to this program in total (including watching the video instruction and completing assignments), over the course of eight weeks.


    Jeanne Liedtka

    United Technologies Corporation Professor of Business Administration
    Jeanne M. Liedtka is the former chief learning officer at United Technologies Corporation, a Fortune 50 corporation, where she was responsible for overseeing corporate learning and development. At Darden, Jeanne works with both MBAs and executives in the areas of design thinking, innovation and leading growth. Her current research focuses on design-led innovation in the government and social sector, as does her forthcoming book, Designing for the Greater Good. She authored The Designing for Growth Field Book: A Step by Step Guide(2014), The Catalyst: How You Can Lead Extraordinary Growth, which was one of Bloomberg Businessweek' s best innovation books of 2009;  Designing for Growth, which was named the best management book of 2011 by 800-CEO-READ; and Solving Problems with Design Thinking: 10Stories of What Works.


    This program is conducted entirely online.

    Over the eight weeks of the program, participants will view a total of six hours of recorded video instruction and complete about 25-28 hours of field work, assignments and peer-to-peer project evaluation.

    This program features:

    • Carefully crafted video instruction in the systematic 15-step process
    • Community forums to support participant process, with participants initiating at least one relevant discussion or responding to other discussions (minimum=8)
    • Selected readings from best-selling textbook
    • Engaging stories showcasing design thinking at work
    • Interviews with successful designers
    • Video-based tool kit library
    • Peer review and feedback at milestone points. You will provide feedback to one peer on two uploads
    • Course assignment completion and upload for review and feedback: Design Brief, Design Criteria, Assumptions, Napkin Pitch, and Learning Launch
    • End-of-course survey (which includes entering the confirmation code)

    For the course to be completely successful, all participants must maintain respectful communication with the faculty and fellow participants, and compliance with all applicable rules, instructions, requirements and terms of the program and service.

    Tuition & Certificates

    $395. Payment is required in advance of the program and is not refundable or transferable after the start of the program. Design Thinking Online Statement of Accomplishment

    Upon successful completion of the course, participants are eligible to receive a Statement of Accomplishment from the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation.